Autoimmune diseases are complex presentations that can include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus (SLE), multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Although the presenting symptoms of these conditions are very varied, they all have one common denominator; a dysfunctional immune system.
Sometimes when we ask our patients ‘How is your immune system?’ they will answer ‘Great thanks, I never get sick’. However, many people that have an autoimmune disease don’t get ‘sick’ often, but their immune system is not healthy. Instead their immune system has been sensitised and is attacking the body’s own tissues.
Anyone that develops an autoimmune condition must first have a genetic susceptibility that runs in their family. However, given that less than 10% of people will go onto develop an autoimmune disease, environmental factors such as stress, infection and diet play an integral role in their development.